The Ontario Securities Commission has released figures showing that the Canadian province has a low rate of cryptocurrency ownership.

Canada, home of Ethereum, is a global blockchain innovator due to provincial research and development, low energy costs, high-speed internet and internal regulation. ConsenSys, an Enterprise Ethereum Alliance member for over ten years, now offers some of the lowest electricity rates in North America, and Quebec has consequently become a crypto mining hub. This has drawn crypto-miners to the region.

The 28 June study by the Canadian provincial financial regulator showed that although there is clear evidence of crypto growth in Ontario, there is lack of basic understanding of digital currencies and how they work among the community.

Currently, 5% of Ontarians actually own cryptocurrency. A working paper conducted by the Bank of Canada at the end of 2017 showed that 64% of Canadians were aware of Bitcoin, but only 2.9% actually owned any.

The new report, entitled ‘Taking Caution: Financial Consumers and the Cryptoasset Sector’, surveyed 2,667 people living in Ontario. When questioned, Ontarians scored badly on knowledge about Bitcoin with only 34% responding with correct answers. Crypto holders fared better with a 72% correct response. Quite surprisingly, as many as 16% of responders thought that Bitcoin was government-supported.

Many Ontarians questioned commented that they had been contacted by companies regarding ICOs, and 1.5% had actually participated in an ICO; the low rates an indication of confusion about how they work or concerns about regulation, according to the report.

Ontarians are cautious: those actually buying cryptocurrencies buying relatively small amounts; about a half suggesting that they hadn’t spent over CAD 1,000. Despite this reluctance to spend big on crypto, OSC director Tyley Fleming suggested that the sector was here to stay, but clearly, the figures demonstrate there is clearly quite a bit of public research to do before investment becomes mainstream.

The latest ING survey released this month shows that globally, Turkey has the highest ownership of cryptocurrency at 18%, which equates to one in five of the population. Belgium, Luxembourg, and France scored lowest with between 4% to 6% ownership. European consumers as a whole recorded a crypto ownership of 9%, a percentage point more than the US.

 

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